Calm down barking dogs when you’re working from home by keeping them busy or temporarily moving them in another room.
There’s no question. You love your furry friend. It’s great to be able to spend time with Fido while you’re working from home since you can’t take your dog to work.

The work from home days is something the both of you enjoy.

You go through an easy WFH morning routine to start the day ‘cause you know that once you start up the computer, it’s gonna be the same bullshit craziness all day.

With your cup o’joe in hand, you get settled in, boot up the computer and start the day.

You can see Fido quietly lounging nearby and think to yourself, “What a life he’s got.” He doesn’t have to manage work stress like you do. He has zero stress.

As you’re scanning and replying to emails, your furry co-worker companion is just chillin’ out doing his thing - not a peep.

As you join your first call for the morning, things start out fine.

The team is reviewing the latest status and just as you begin your turn to update the group, Fido starts barking his ass off for some reason.

And, it’s not a short bark session. This is the “get off my turf” warning barks. Fido’s on a tear and just won’t shut the fuck up.

People on the call can’t hear what you’re saying and neither can you.

You end up having to pass the baton and mute the mic so that you can deal with things.

“Hey Fido, what the hell’s going on with you?”

You end up putting him in another part of the house and get back to your desk to re-join the call and share your update. He’s still barking his ass off in the distant background but it’s far more tolerable now.

After the call, you bring him back out and he’s all chill.

You get back to the work grind. There’s no barking or any other issues while your fingers are tapping away at the keyboard.

But of course, on the very next meeting, just as you unmute yourself to speak, the doorbell rings and Fido goes bat-shit crazy. It’s a package delivery.

Dammit. This shit has gotta stop.

Is it just pure coincidence that some kind of conflict happens at nearly every call and meeting?

This isn’t Murphy’s Law.

It’s Fido’s Law Of Interruption.

Something’s gotta be done.

Barking Is Part Of The Deal

All dogs bark. It’s how they communicate with everyone else in the world.

It’s part of the package deal. Wagging tails, slobbering face licks, hilarious antics and of course, barks, yelps, whimpers, howls and growls are also included free of charge.

When dogs want to get your attention, they’ll do it in the way that they know guarantees results fast.

By barking.

And 99% of the time, this does the trick for them.

From their pawspective, barking loud and/or long enough will make a human servant appear.

They do this to get your attention to cure boredom, get you to play with them, feed them, go out for a walk, warn of other “intruders”, etc.

This is part of their natural programming. It’s no different than how we use our own voices to communicate with each other. Barking is how they connect and communicate.

Suppressing this isn’t possible or recommended. However, what we’re aiming for is to get their mind off of barking and doing other things instead.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog Quiet On Calls

Okay, this isn’t about muzzling or putting a shock collar on your dog. Neither of which we recommend.

This is all about using tactics to prepare and manage for barky situations ahead of time so that your calls and meetings can happen without Fido chiming in with his opinion.

Depending on how bad the barking situation is, you may need to do several combinations of things. Or, if it’s not so bad, maybe just try one or two ideas and if they’re successful, stick to them and make it a habit for you and Fido.

And because the whole work from home thing can be a new and unusual routine for the both of you, this is retraining your dog and yourself on the new structure.

1) Challenging Treats To Keep Them Occupied

You may have also seen these referred to as “interactive treats.” This is misleading because Fido’s not gonna be using your iPad to get treats. This is all about making your dog work for the treat without you being there.

When you’re actively training your dog, you’re directly interacting with them. It’s the “sit, lay down, rollover, paw” etc snack reward positive training. And, it works well.

When the dog’s mind is being worked like this, a lot of their mental energy is being spent on trying to interpret and understand commands. So, they don’t bark nearly as much.

Now, since you’ll be busy on a call or in a meeting, you can’t have interactive sessions with your dog at the same time. You can’t do two things at once. Multitasking is bullshit. In fact, you’ll do more with less stress by mono-tasking instead of multi-tasking.

With a bit of pre-planning, you can replicate this challenging treat arrangement with “interactive” treat-dispensing toys like Kongs, Buster Cubes, Wobblers etc.

Pre-stuff the toys with tasty treats - the kind where it’ll take them some serious time to get the treat or it’ll dispense the food in a smaller portion.

These toy-treat dispensers all make treats a challenge by making your dog think about how to get to the food out and make them work for it.

Stuffing a Kong with a filler made of tasty and healthy treats and then freezing it is one of the best ways to extend the duration of the effort, which in turn, gives you loads of uninterrupted time for your call or meeting.

About five minutes before your call or meeting, give Fido a frozen food stuffed toy in their designated eating area and let them go at it while you take care of business.

2) Morning Walk & Lunchtime Exercise

The morning walk is probably already ingrained as part of both your morning starts.

However, with work from home, the daily morning walk isn’t a rushed affair like it normally is. You no longer have to deal with a stressful commute. So, why not use some of that extra time for an extended morning walk with your dog?

A lot of us take it for granted that we can have these kinds of peaceful moments to start our day, especially with a furry friend.

It’s time that you recognize how good you have it. Having gratitude for the simple things in life is the secret trick to triggering happiness.

So, after Fido takes care of his biological needs, don’t just rush back home. Instead, spend an extra five minutes, maybe even ten if you can manage it, and just play. Be present and enjoy the morning moments.

When lunchtime comes around, do the same.

Go for a walk with Fido after eating. It’ll not only help with digestion, but it’ll also stave off post-lunch food coma and keep you from falling asleep at your desk.

This is another opportunity for Fido to burn up some energy and get some exercise. Toss the ball and play fetch. It’s a great low-sweat workout for you to shake off the morning stresses.

In each of these sessions, Fido will get the chance to burn up some energy which will help to keep him more calm at home while you’re working. And, you get a couple of micro-workouts during the day.

Just a warning though - don’t have too much fun at the park or else you might be in the same situation like this dog owner.

VIDEO: Dog Plays Dead
LENGTH: 1:47

3) Crate During Meetings & Calls

The crate is your dog’s sanctuary, especially if you did the whole crate training method. This is his private little space away from the world. You have your space for “me-time” and he should be able to get his too.

During your WFH day, it’s a good idea to relocate the crate into another part of the house, further away from your dedicated workspace area. And if he’s particularly barky that day, you can put the crate in another room so that there are a couple of doors and some distance between you two.

And if he starts barking, ignore him.

Remember, he’s relying on your reflex to respond and appear. Train him to do otherwise. Only go to the crate when he’s quiet and settled.

Get into the habit of putting him in the crate five minutes before your calls or meetings. Always provide a little challenge treat or fav chew toy too and this’ll quickly make daytime crating something he looks forward to.

Right after your call or meeting ends, so long as he’s not barking, head to the crate and let him out. Spend a few minutes petting him as a little reward for his good behavior.

You want to make sure that the better reward is front-ended when he’s going into the crate rather than when he is being let out.

4) Reward For Being Quiet 

We don’t give dogs enough credit for their smarts. They can pick up on a lot of things and learn quickly. We can and should use this to our advantage.

The specific case here revolves around the reward mechanism for being quiet while you're talking to that inanimate object called a laptop.

For every boring call or stupid unavoidable meeting that goes by without a single bark from your furry coworker, give him some cuddles and/or a small treat right afterwards.

Never give treats to shut them up - ever.

This only signals to them that barking means a treat is gonna be delivered soon. Don’t do this. It only reinforces a bad behavior pattern.

You want to reinforce the opposite scenario and reward good quiet behavior.

So, if there wasn't a single peep out of them, give ‘em some kudos, kisses, belly rubs and a little treat.

5) Close The Curtains 

Some dogs are very territorial when it comes to other people or dogs coming closeby to the house while other dogs really don’t give a shit.

If your pooch tends to be more on the territorial side, then consider closing your shades or blinds as a way to block the visual stimulus.

When they can’t see “intruders” passing by, they won’t be all charged up to put their guard up, growl and bark their ass off.

It’ll solve most of the passer-by problems, especially if your dog is a perpetual window scanner.

However, it won’t do shit for package delivery people or the mail carrier, but it at least cuts down on the number of incidents.

But hey, at least you’re home now to receive packages instead of shipping packages to work.

6) Turn On The TV For Background Voices

It’s not unusual for dogs to also have a level of comfort with some ambient noise, more specifically, the sounds of human voices.

Humans are the same way too.

Some people want or often need to have some kind of background noise to focus and be productive. The dead silence can be too much.

When you’re working from home, it can sometimes be too quiet. This is why having the TV on while working can be the perfect solution for you and your dog.

Some light background chatter is all that’s needed to bring some liveliness into your environment. Fido will probably also appreciate hearing other people’s voices besides your own all day long too.

So, turn on the TV and tune into an all-news broadcast, food network, weather channel or for the ultimate in monotonous voices, try C-SPAN. Talk radio works great too.

Whatever content you choose, keep at low enough volumes where it can act as some background noise for your pooch to daydream to.

7) Team Up With Your Neighbor

If you’ve got kids, you know that it’s far easier to keep them busy when they’ve got other kids to play with. They can all keep each other entertained. And, you’ll have more time to yourself.

The same principle applies here too.

If you’re good with your neighbor and they’ve got a pooch that gets along with yours, then you’ve got the makings of a perfect pairing for daytime doggie playdates. You and your neighbor can take turns having each other’s dog come over and hang out for the day.

Also, you or your neighbor shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden and do everything all day. So, have the free doggie parent walk both dogs during lunch for the other. It’s only fair.

This strategy can work out really well for those all-day marathon calls and meetings. It can definitely make getting through rough days a bit easier. All it takes is a little coordination with your neighbor.

Barkless Calls & Meetings Can Be Your WFH Reality

Being able to work from home and hang out with your furry bestie is one of life’s greatest joys. Until when it’s not.

A stressful day filled with emergency tasks and back-to-back calls can make it feel like you're doing nothing but putting out fires all day. And having a barking dog to top it all off will only make you lose your shit faster.

You and your dog each have needs. You need to get in the zone for work and your pooch needs your love and attention.

And now that you’re WFH, you have to find that ideal balance of getting shit done and providing Fido pets and belly rubs.

Try out some of the tactics above and find the ones that work best for you and your pooch. Eventually, both of you will “find your groove” and Fido’s Law won’t ever come into play again.

Now, if you can only apply these same tactics to the noisy coworker at the office that won’t STFU, then work life would be so much better.

Feel Better,

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